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Banks Focus on Mobile Channels as Cuts Continue

From American Banker:

Big banks are bringing their fight for new customers from street-corner branches to mobile phones — where they're getting a cheaper fix.

Strapped for new revenue and pressed into waves of cost cuts, the country's largest banks are trying to keep the customers they have, woo the ones they don't and do it all for less. In recent months, they have increasingly found one solution to all of those problems: the smartphones that can let customers deposit checks, pay bills and check their balances without ever stepping into a bank branch.

"It's critically important. We have to be there," says Tracey Weber, Citigroup's managing director of consumer Internet and mobile banking for North America. "We find that once customers try mobile banking, it's a very delightful, high-customer-satisfaction experience."

It's also a cheap one. Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan, who is trying to cut $8 billion in costs, has promised that mobile and online technology will help the bank grow business while shrinking everything else. The price tag for that technology has been a relatively modest $500 million "over the past few years," Moynihan said in December.

The growth of self-service channels can be attributed in no small part by mobility, particularly the proliferation of smartphones and tablets among banking customers. With their Internet access and available downloadable apps, these devices offer the instant access and robust functionality desired by so many customers.

With these devices, customers can conduct many transactions that were previously only available in branches, and in some cases, via ATMs. Examples include balance inquiries, deposits, transfers, billpay, and even account applications in some cases. These capabilities empower customers to be able to bank anytime and anywhere they choose, which results in increased customer engagement and overall satisfaction.

Click here to read more from American Banker.

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